Obituary: Virginia Fennimore Newell


Virginia was born in Bronxville, N.Y., in 1923 to an affluent family. Her ancestors were some of the earliest settlers of New Amsterdam (now New York). Like many other families in America, Virginia’s family was wiped out financially in the Great Depression. The Vanderpool family learned to get by on thrift and hard work.

In addition to her parents, Orville and Emily Vanderpool, Virginia’s family consisted of a sister Beatrice (Behr) and two brothers, Orville Jr. and Douglas Vanderpool. For the most part Virginia’s family has been blessed with longevity. Virginia’s mother passed away at age 105, her sister died recently at age 99 and her brother Douglas lived to age 94. Virginia was 92 years old when she died Jan. 9, 2016.

In 1943, Virginia married John Edward (Ed) Newell, a Canadian who had come to America to help with the war effort. Together they raised five children. All five survive them. Their children are Glenn Newell, Virginia Newell, Douglas Newell, Gary Newell, and Brian Newell. She is also survived by eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Besides enduring the challenges of raising five children, Ginny devoted a great deal of time to charitable work. She had been a Girl Scout leader for 12 years in Oxford, as well as volunteering with the Oxford Preschool Association. She was responsible for starting the first kindergarten in that town before moving to Naugatuck. In the 1970s, she shared her time with the elderly at local nursing homes and was later hired to provide activities for the patients at the Middlebury Convalescent Home. She was a very active member of the Naugatuck Congregational Church where she founded a branch of SERV, a program to aid less fortunate people overseas. In 1990, Virginia was awarded the Gold Medal of Honor by the Naugatuck Exchange Club in recognition of her work developing plans for affordable housing for Asian refugees. She was active volunteering with the Waterbury Area Council of Churches Food Bank and local soup kitchens. Mrs. Newell was also a recipient of the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Naugatuck Rotary Club in honor of her numerous charitable activities.

Virginia loved animals and her home was never without pets. She was a strong supporter of humanitarian causes and encouraged her children to do the same. Besides empathy she taught her children honesty and integrity. She was a good person and will be missed.

Any donations in her memory should be made to the charitable organizations of your choice.

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